At least six people are dead and dozens are wounded after Boko Haram extremists launched a series of attacks on the capital of Borno state, authorities said Thursday. While the exact death toll was not immediately known, it was believed to be the worst assault on Maiduguri in months.
Nigeria’s president late last year declared the extremist group had been crushed but attacks continue, often with young women strapped into explosives for suicide attacks.
The jihadists attacked late Wednesday as evening prayers were ending, targeting four locations throughout the city. The violence came as soldiers were trying to repel another group of Boko Haram insurgents who were trying to invade.
Boko Haram often uses diversionary tactics to draw security forces to one area so that the extremists can attack elsewhere.
The attacks took place in various locations around the Chad Basin Development Authority headquarters just before 9 p.m., resident Alhaji Bashir said. The targets included a mosque, the research institute, an area inside the authority quarters and another area near a college, he said.
Young members of a civilian defense group, who have come together to combat the Islamic extremists, saw one suicide bomber at the headquarters. “One of the youth vigilantes rushed to hold him, and the bomb went off and killed the suicide bomber and three other persons,” Bashir said.
In the attack opposite the college, a female suicide bomber entered a crowd of worshippers leaving prayers and detonated her explosives, he said.
At least 37 people were wounded and six confirmed dead at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Bashir said.
Dozens of injured people filled the hospital Thursday morning, said Abba Shehu, a private security worker.
“It is a horrible sight we have here,” he said. “I could not count the number of injured casualties at the accident and emergency ward, most of them sitting on the floor as the place is crowded and no beds to properly admit them.”
SOURCE: Haruna Umar | AP